It  was early to rise for the Thru Crew.  The objective of the day… Slack pack 20 miles!!! We rocked it, along with Shutterbug and Little Foot.

Miss Janet dropped the nine of us off at Iron Mountain Gap, and planned to pick us up when we returned to Erwin.  We started hiking at 9:45.

Right away we are met with sunshine illuminating these beautiful people flowers.  Nature is just so stunning, when you take the time to take it all in.

We stopped about three miles in to eat lunch, and refill our water bottles.  Then we made our way to Unaka Mountain.  Miss Janet have Zoey some bubbles to play with as she frolicked along the trail.  The kids all enjoyed a little reprieve from hiking to play with them.

There was a chill in the air.  Shutterbug and Little Foot were especially chilly, and covered up their faces as much as they could with their rain coats. 

And thought it is rare, we were all able to get into one picture, courtesy of Shutterbug.

We continued to hike on through the forest, and we came upon this Christmas Tree decorated in memory of a young man who had passed away.

Riley really liked the pineapple ornament, and we found Woody and Buzz Lightyear as well. 

There is so much brokenness in the beauty of the trail, and equally so much beauty in the brokenness.

Not long after we made our way through the forest, we came to Beauty Spot Gap, where we landed upon more trail magic.  A fellow veteran and Thru hiker, Onesimus, was grilling chicken for hungry hikers.  

Kole took over photography duties and captured some interesting shots… Look closely…

He can be crazy, but then he had an eye for some beautiful shots as well.

After we finished stuffing our faces, we kept on hiking down towards Erwin.  Shutterbug, Little Foot and I finished making our way under headlamps.

Miss Janet picked us up from the trail, and took us back to her pad.  Coy had created a massive pot of Gumbo and everyone filed their bellies until they were content!  

We completed our first 20 mile day!!! It was absolutely amazing!!!  I’m not sure how it will feel to make 20 miles with full packs, but it was awesome slack packing.

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